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The MSBA Capstone Relationship Continues Featuring Robin Li (MSBA ‘22)

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Robin Li (MSBA ‘22) is driven by discovery and uncovering new methods to achieve superior results. During Robin’s final semester at Pepperdine, she participated in the Capstone Course Project with Cloud9 Advisory, a cloud technology advisory services company based in Boston, MA. Read on to learn more about Robin and her experience participating in this project with Cloud9 Advisory. 

Robin Li’s Background and Education 

Robin Li graduated from Pepperdine University in 2022 with a Master of Science in Business Analytics. Her journey to this degree was not a common one, but one uniquely filled with dedication, hard work, and passion. Robin originally studied Civil Engineering, earning her Bachelor’s degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2014.  She then spent five years working as a Structural Engineer in Chongqing, China. Robin found herself becoming interested in what goes into the decision making behind projects, and decided to pursue data analytics. The story of Robin’s transition from Architect to Data Architect is remarkable and unmatched. 

Robin prides herself on her work; her key motivator is to take ownership and responsibility of that work and to consistently try to discover if there are any better methods of procedure to achieve more superior results. During Robin’s final semester at Pepperdine, she participated in the Capstone Course Project as a part of the PGBS 697: MSBA - “Applied Research” class. For the project, the MSBA program partnered with Cloud9 Advisory, a finance and technology services company focused on offerings around CFO-as-a-service, tax and business advisory services, and cloud technology advisory services, based in Boston, MA. Robin worked with Cloud9 for the duration of the project, and was eventually hired by them for a Data Analyst position. She currently works as a  Consultant at Tredence, while still staying connected with Cloud9 as a part-time Data Analyst.

Interview with Robin Li 

What was Your Greatest Impact from Studying at Pepperdine?

“As an Engineer or Architect, you get to decide how the building looks and what material to use, how to save money by adopting a more efficient structure, which is great. But as a Data Analyst, you get to decide much more, even in the planning phase: whether the project is profitable or not, what kind of building at a certain location would bring more profit, etc.” 

What was Your Greatest Impact from Studying at Pepperdine?

“Besides the great ocean views, the greatest impact is that Pepperdine didn’t just teach me about the technical skills I needed to become a Data Analyst; most professors have previous working experience in different industries, and they talk about how domain expertise matters a lot as a Data Analyst.”

What are Your Biggest Takeaways from the Capstone Project?

“My biggest takeaway from the project and working with Cloud9 is the connections I’ve been able to build with all the professionals along the way. Even though I also learned a lot of knowledge about the industry and cloud computing, networking is such a valuable asset. Also, it is very valuable to have an opportunity in your early career where you’re able to see the bigger picture in an organization and really participate in building something new from scratch. The sense of accomplishment and vision built through the process is beyond imagination.”

How Were You able to Work with Cloud9 Despite the Distance (CA→Boston)?

“Since the pandemic, everyone is starting to get used to working from home, and all the tech companies are trying to create a better WFH experience for both employees and employers. Fortunately, C9 uses the Google Workspace Suite as the main collaboration tool, which is very convenient. First of all, we’re not strangers to Google, the interface is simple but comes with all the functionalities we need. So it’s very easy to get used to the whole ecosystem, and best of all, you don’t need to install any software on your device. Secondly, it’s a lot easier to collaborate with your colleagues when all the work-related information is consolidated into one account, your calendar, emails, working files, and even the GCP platform. It’s easy to keep everything organized.”

How has Continuing the Capstone Relationship with Cloud9 Been Beneficial to You?

“On one hand, it’s a great experience to keep working on a project that you started from the beginning, which is so different from a project that you would do in a normal college class. On the other hand, being able to keep working for Cloud9 even after the capstone ended gave me a smooth transition from campus to an actual working environment. I was invited to visit the Cloud9 office in Boston, and it’s been a wonderful experience. I like how flexible and convenient the office is, and Boston is a very nice, clean, and convenient city. One of the best benefits of working at Cloud9 is having access to all the training courses and learning certificates provided by GCP. I took the Data Engineering learning path for both the work needs and my personal development.”

How have Cloud9 and Pepperdine Helped you Achieve your Goals?

“First of all, Pepperdine prepared me well as a Data Analyst with the essential skills and basic knowledge I needed. Then, Cloud9 gave me an actual project and working environment that allowed me to improve and get more familiar with my skills, especially in collaboration and communication.” 

Concluding Remarks 

Robin’s relationship with Cloud9 Advisory has been ongoing since she worked with them on the Capstone project - a total of about sixteen months! Throughout her work with them, she has effectively built a data analytics platform using her knowledge of SQL utilizing Google BigQuery, and her data analytics skills implemented with Google Connected Sheets. She has successfully redefined innovation in the way that she created new business intelligence ideas by applying the concepts of existing technologies.

For more information on the collaboration between Pepperdine and Cloud9, click here.